The following is a part of the hearing before the Grand Jury of St. Louis County on September 16, 2014, in the case of State of Missouri v. Darren Wilson.
Examination by Ms. Sheila Whirley, Assistant Prosecution Attorney for St. Louis County (Q) of Police Officer Darren Wilson (A):
Q: “So August the 9th of 2014 you worked as a police officer for the Ferguson Police Department?’
Q: “That means you are a certified police officer?’
Q: “Had you completed all your training and kept up with your continuing education as a certified officer does?’
A: “Yes, ma'am.’
Q: “You have the power of arrest?'
Q: “In the State of Missouri?'
A: Yes, ma'am.’
Q: “What’s your height?’
A: “6'4", just a shy under 6'4"”
Q: “A little under 6'4"?”A: “Yes, ma'am.”Q: “And how much do you currently weigh?”A: “210-ish.”Q: “That’s been your weight for a while?”A: “Yeah, it fluctuates between 205, 212, 213, something like that.”Q: “Of course everybody knows why we're here, so let's just get to it.”A: “Okay.”Q: “Let’s talk about your day on August the 9th. What shift did you work?”A: “Day shift.”Q: “And what shift would that be, what hours?”A: “6.30am to 6.30pm.”Q: “Twelve hour shift?”A: “Correct.”Q: “Had your worked the day before?”A: “Yes I had.”Q: “Same shift?”A: “Yes.”Q: “You weren’t working like midnight the night before?”A: “No ma’am.”Q: “When you started your shift, did anything happen that you consider very eventful? I mean, earlier that day, prior to 10, let’s say 10am.”A: “No ma’am.”Q: “Had you answered any calls prior to 10am?”A: “I don’t recall, I don’t believe so but I don’t recall, nothing stands out in my memory.”Q: “It was a pretty quiet day initially?”A: “Yes, ma’am.”Q: “Now, at some point you had a sick call, a sick baby, I think?”A: “Yes, ma’am.”Q: “And that would have been 11-ish or so?”A: “I think it was around 11.30am-ish, somewhere in that vicinity.”Q: “That was near the Canfield Green apartments?”A: “Yes, ma’am, it was actually past them, in the adjoining apartment complex.”Q: “And what do they call those apartments? “
A: “I believe that apartment is called Northwinds.”Q: “Northwinds. Okay. And it is like east of the Canfield Green, behind those apartments?”A: “Correct.”Q: “When you went on that call, did you have assistance?”A: “No I did not.”Q: “All right.”A: “No police assistance.”Q: “No police assistance?”A: “No.”Q: “You handled that call by yourself?”A: “Yes ma’am.”Q: “And did you have any confrontation with anybody or was everything, was it a pretty as a matter of fact call?”A: “It was a pretty laid-back call. It was for a sick infant, I believe, only a couple months old.”Q: “Okay.”A: “I believe she had a fever, I’m not 100% sure.”Officer Wilson is asked further questions about the call to the sick baby , which was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Q: “Did you get any other calls between the time of the sick baby call and your interaction with Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson?”A: “While on the sick case call, a call came out for a stealing in progress from the local market on West Florissant, that the suspects traveling towards QT.
“I didn’t hear the entire call, I was on my portable radio, which isn’t exactly the best. I did hear that a suspect was wearing a black shirt and that a box of Cigarillos was stolen.”Q: “Okay. And was this your call or you just heard the call?”A: “It was not my call, I heard the call.”Q: “Some other officers were dispatched to that call?”A: “I believe two others were.”Q: “Was it a call that you were going to go to also?”A: “No.”Q: “So you weren’t really geared to handle that call?”A: “No.”Q: “Tell us how you were dressed that day on August the 9th.”A: “How I was dressed?”Q: “Yes.”A: “I was wearing my full department uniform, light duty boots, dark navy blue pants, my issue duty belt, with my uniform shirt, and that was it.”Q: “All right, so when you say, when you are in uniform, you were not a detective?”A: “No, ma’am.”Q: “So your uniform is like a uniform police officer and when you are walking around I can clearly see oh, that’s a police officer?”A: “Yes ma’am, I believe it is French blue uniform shirt, had patches for Ferguson on both sides, badge name tag.”Q: “Okay. And you were in what type of vehicle.”A: “I was in a Chevy Tahoe police vehicle fully marked with a light bar.”Q: “Fully marked, okay. Tell us, you were mentioning your radio or what is this you spoke about?”A: “Walkie is what we normally call it.”Q: “Like a walkie-talkie or something?”A: “Yes ma’am’.”Q: “And did it work that day?”A: “Yes.”Q: “Okay. And it was on which shoulder?”A: “I wear it on my left shoulder.”Q: “Are you left or right-handed?”A: “I’m right handed.”Q: “Okay. Tell us what else is on your duty belt?”A: “I have my, I’ll go in order. Magazine pouches sit right here, my weapon is on my right hip, I have an asp that sits kind of behind me and kind of to the right and then a set of handcuffs, another set of handcuffs, my OC spray or mace is on this side and then my radio and that’s it.”Q: “Okay, so your mace is on your left side and your gun is on your right side?”A: “Correct.”Q: “What type of weapon did your carry?”A: “I carry Sig Sauer, a P229 .40 caliber.”Q: “How many cartridges or bullets would it hold?”A: “It has 12 in the magazine and one goes in the chamber, so a total of 13.”Q: “You had a couple spare magazines on your belt?”A: “Correct.”Q: “That had 12 each?”A: “Correct.”Q: “Did you carry a Taser?”A: “No.”Q: “Why not?”A: “I normally don’t carry a Taser. We only have a select amount. Usually there is one available but, but I usually elect not to carry one. It is not the most comfortable thing. They are very large, I don’t have a lot of room in the front for it to be positioned.”Q: “Had you been trained on how to use a Taser?”A: “Yes ma’am.”Q: “Have you ever used a Taser before?”A: “I believe I have, but it wasn’t one that I carried. It was one that I used from someone else on a scene. I can’t remember the time or where I used it.”Q: “You prefer not to have a Taser?”A: “Correct.”Q: “So that day you had mace, you said, on your left side?”A: “Correct.”Q: “All right. You are coming west, is it on Canfield Drive?”A: “Yes, I started out on Glenark and then I turned on to Bahama and then onto Glen Owen, and then I turned on Windward, which actually turns into Canfield Green and that’s where I was going west on that.”Q: “West on Canfield Drive?”A: “Yes ma’am.”Q: “Okay, We are going to get a map here shortly so you can kind of map it out for us. So you are going west on Canfield Drive, what happens?”A: “As I was going west on Canfield, I observed two men in the middle of the street, they are walking along the double yellow line single file order.”Q: “Okay. And you say something to them, did they say something to you first?”A: “No, you want me to just go with the whole thing?”Q: “Sure, go ahead, let’s start there.”A: “I see them walking down the middle of the street. And first thing that struck me was they’re walking in the middle of the street. I had already seen a couple cars trying to pass, but they couldn’t have traffic normal because they were in the middle so one had to stop to let the car go around and then another car would come.
“And the next thing I noticed was the size of the individuals because either the first one was really small or the second one was really big.
“And just for the conversation, I didn’t know this then, But the first one’s name was Dorian Johnson, the second one was Michael Brown. That was discovered, I think, the following day is when I learned the names.
“I had never seen them before. And the next thing I notice was that Brown had bright yellow socks that had green marijuana leaves as a pattern on them. They were the taller socks that go halfway up your shin.
“As I approach them, I stopped a couple feet in front of Johnson as they are walking towards me, I am going towards them. And I allowed him to keep walking towards my window, which was down.
“As Johnson came around my driver’s side mirror I said: ”why don’t you guys walk on the sidewalk.” He kept walking, as he is walking he said,”we are almost to our destination.””Q: “Do you think he used those words, destination; we are almost to our destination?”A: “Yes, ma’am. He said we are almost to our destination and he pointed this direction over my vehicle. So like in a northeasternly (sic) direction. And as he did that, he kept walking and Brown was starting to come around to the mirror and as he came around the mirror I said, ”well, what’s wrong with the sidewalk.” Brown then replied, um, it has vulgar language.”Q: “You can say it, say it.”A: “Brown then replied ”fuck what you have to say.” And when he said that, it drew my attention totally to Brown. It was a very unusual and not expected response from a simple request.
“When I start looking at Brown, first thing I notice is in his right hand, his hand is full of Cigarillos. And that’s when it clicked for me because now I saw the Cigarillos, I looked in my mirror, I did a double-check that Johnson was wearing a black shirt, these are the two from the stealing.
“And they kept walking, as I said, they never once stopped, never got on the sidewalk, they stayed in the middle of the road. So I got on my radio and Frank 21 is my call sign that day, I said ”Frank 21 I’m on Canfield with two, send me another car”.
“I then placed my car in reverse and backed up and I backed up just past them and then angled my vehicle, the back of my vehicle to kind of cut them off kind, to keep them somewhat contained.
“As I did that I go to open the door and I say ‘hey, come here for a minute’ to Brown. As I’m opening the door he turns, faces me, looks at me and says ‘what the f are you going to do about it,’ and shuts my door, slammed it shut. I haven’t even got it open enough to get my leg out, it was only a few inches.
“I then looked at him and told him to get back and he was just staring at me, almost like to intimidate me or to overpower me. The intense face he had was just not what I expected from any of this. I then opened my door again and used my door to push him backwards and while I’m doing that I tell him to ”get the fuck back” and then I use my door to push him.
Q: “You tell him to ‘get the fuck back’?”A: “Yes.”Q: “Okay.”A: “He then grabs my door again and shuts my door. At that time is when I saw him coming into my vehicle. His head was higher than the top of my car. And I see him ducking and as he is ducking his hands are up and he is coming in my vehicle. I had shielded myself in this type of manner and kind of looked away, so I don’t remember seeing him come at me, But I was hit right here in the side of the face with a fist.
“I don’t think it was a full-on swing, I think it was a full-on swing, but not a full shot. I think my arm deflected some of it, but there was still a significant amount of contact that was made to my face.
Q: “Now, he was hitting you with what hand?”A: “I believe it was his right, just judging by how we were situated.”Q: “Right.”A: “But like I said, I had turned away, had my eyes, I was shielding myself.”Q: “Where did you see the Cigarillos at?”A: “They were in his right hand.”Q: “Okay, were there any broken Cigarillos or anything in your car later.”A: “No, I don’t remember seeing anything on the ground or anything.”Q: “Okay’.
A: “After he hit me, it stopped for a second. He kind of like, I remember getting hit and he kind of like grabbed and pulled, and then it stopped. When I looked up, if this is my car door, I’m sitting here facing that way, he’s here.
“He turns like this, and now the Cigarillos I see in his left hand. He’s going like this and he says, ‘hey man, hold these’.”
Q: “So you start out with Cigarillos in his right hand?”A: “Correct.”Q: “At this point they are in his left hand?”A: “Correct.”Q: “He didn’t have like two hands of Cigarillos?”A: “No, I only saw them in one hand.”Q: “You only saw them in one hand, okay, go ahead.”A: “And he reaches back and he says ‘hey man, hold these.’ I’m assuming to Johnson, but I couldn’t see Johnson from my line of sight.”Q: “But you could tell he was giving Johnson Cigarillos?”A: “Yes I saw them in his hand go around.”Q: “All right’.
A: “And then he said, ‘hey man, hold these.’ And at that point I tried to hold his right arm because it was like this in my car. This is my car window. I tried to hold his right arm and use my left hand to get out to have some type of control and not be trapped in a car anymore. And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. “
Q: “Holding on to a what?”A: “Hulk Hogan, that’s just how big he felt and how small I felt just from grasping his arm. And as I’m trying to open the door is when, and I can’t really get it open because he is standing only six inches from my door, but as I was trying to pull the handle, I see his hand coming back around like this and he hit me with this part of his right here, just a full swing all the way back around and hit me right here (indicating).
“After he did that, next this I remember is, how do I get this guy away from me. What do I do not to get beaten inside my car? I remember having my hands up and I thought to myself, you know, what do I do?
“I considered using my mace, however, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my left hand, which is blocking my face, to go for it. I couldn’t reach around on my right to get it, and if I would have gotten it out, the chances of it being effective were slim to none.
“His hands were in front of his face, it would have blocked the mace from hitting him in the face and if any of it got on me, I know what it does to me and I would have been out of the game.
“I wear contacts, if that touched any part of my eyes, then I can’t see at all.
“Like I said, I don’t carry a Taser, I considered my asp, but to get that out, since I kind of sit on it, I usually have to lean forward and pull myself forward to the steering wheel to get it out.
“Again, I wasn’t willing to let go of the one defense I had against being hit. The whole time, I can’t tell you if he was swinging at me or grabbing me or pushing me or what, but there was just stuff going on and I was looking down figuring out what to do.
“Also, when I was grabbing my asp, I knew if I did even get it out, I was not going to be able to expand it inside to car or am going to be able to make a swing that will be effective in any manner.
“Next I considered my flashlight. I keep that on the passenger side of the car. I wasn’t going to, again, reach over like this to grab it and then even if I did grab it, would it even be effective? We are so close and confined.
“So the only other option I thought I had was my gun. I drew my gun, I turned. It is kind of hard to describe it, I turn and I go like this. He is standing there. I said ‘get back or I’m going to shoot you.’ He immediately grabs my gun and says ‘you are too much of a pussy to shoot me.’ The way he grabbed it, do you have a picture?”Q: “I do have some pictures of your gun. Well, you can tell us if it is your gun, I believe it is.”A: “My gun was basically pointed this way. I’m in my car, he’s here, it is pointed his way, but he grabs it with his right hand, not his left, he grabs it with his right one and he twists it and then he digs it down into my hip.”Officer Wilson uses pictures provided to show the jury how Michael Brown grabbed the gun and shows further pictures to show where he suffered scratched and swelling to the face.
Q: “I have a few other questions while we are waiting on that (the photos). So during the time that he’s, you said Michael Brown is striking you in the face through the car door.”
Q: “And it was your opinion that you needed to pull out your weapon because? Why did you feel that way? I don’t want to put words in your mouth.”
A: “I felt that another one of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse. I mean it was, he’s obviously bigger than I was and stronger and I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would… The third one could be fatal if he hit me right.”
Q: “You thought he could his you and it would be a fatal injury?”
A: “Or at least unconscious and then who knows what would happen to me after that.”
Officer Wilson shows photographs of gun and his facial injuries.
Q: “All right. So you suffered the injury to your face and you showed us where the gun was grabbed and at the time when there is a struggle for the gun, take us from there.”
A: “He grabs my gun, says ‘you are too much of a pussy to shoot me.’ The gun goes down into my hip and at that point I thought I was getting shot. I can feel his fingers try to get inside the trigger guard with my finder and I distinctly remember envisioning a bulled going into my leg. I thought that was the next step.
“As I’m looking at it, I’m not paying attention to him. All I can focus on is just this gun in my leg. I was able to kind of shift slightly like this and then push it down, because he is pushing down like to keep it pinned on my leg.
“So when I slid, I let him use his momentum to push it down and it was kind of pointed to where the seat buckle would attach on the floorboard on the side of my car Next thing I remember putting my lefty hand on it like this, putting my elbow into the back of my seat and just pushing with all I could forward.
Q: “Were you saying anything?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q; “You don’t know if he was saying anything either?”
A: “I heard stuff, but I couldn’t tell you what it was. Like I said, I was just so focused on getting the gun out of me. When I did get it up to this point, he is still holding on to it and I pulled the trigger and nothing happens, it just clicked. I pull it again, it just clicked again.
“At this point I’m like: why isn’t this working, this guy is trying to kill me if he gets ahold of his gun. I pulled a third time, it goes off. When it went off, it shot through my door and my window was down and glass flew out of my door panel. I think that kind of startled him and me at the same time. When I see the glass come up, it comes, a chunk about that big comes across my right hand and then I notice I have blood on the back on my hand.
“After seeing the blood on my hand, I looked at him and he was, this is my car door, he was here and he kind of stepped back and went like this. And then after he did that, he looked up at the and had the most intense aggressive face.
“The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon. That’s how angry he looked.
“He comes back towards me again with his hands up. At this point I just went like this, I tried to pull the trigger again, click, nothing happened.”
Q: “When you say he came back up to you with his hands up, describe to us what he is doing?”
A: “Last thing I saw was this coming at me.
Q: “Was it a fist?”
A: “I just saw his hands up, I don’t know if they were closed yet, on the way to going closed I saw this and that face coming at me again, and I just went like this and shielded my face.
Q: “And you did what?”
A: “Went like this and shielded my face.”
Q: “Did he hit you at that time?
Q: Okay, go ahead.”
A: “So I pulled the trigger, it just clicks that time. Without even looking, I just grab the top of my gun, the slide and I racked it, and I put my, still not looking, just holding my hand up, I pulled the trigger again, it goes off. When it look back after that-
Q: (interrupts)’ So how many times does it go off in the car?”
A: “It goes off twice in the car. Pull, click, click, went off, click, went off. So twice in the car.”
Q: “Are you certain?”
A: “When I look up after that, I see him start to run and I see a cloud of dust behind him. I then get out of my car. As I’m getting out of the car I tell dispatch, ‘shots fired, send me more cars.’ We start running, kind of the same direction that Johnson had pointed. Across the street like a diagonal towards this, kind of like where the parking lot came in for Copper Creek Court and Canfield, right in that intersection. And there is a light pole right there, I remember him running towards the light pole.
“We pass two cars that were behind my police car while we were running. I think the second one was Pontiac Grand Am, a green one. I don’t know if it was a two door or four door, I just remember seeing a Pontiac green Grand Am.
“When I passed the second one, about the same time, he stopped running and he is at that light pole. So when he stopped, I stopped. And then he starts to turn around. I tell him to get on the ground. He turns and when he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running. When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side. His right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me.
Q: “You say under his shirt?”
Q: “Was he wearing a shirt that was longer than his waistband?”
A: “Yes ma’am.”
Q: “So he goes up under the shirt?”
Q: “Okay, go ahead.”
A: “That was all done, like I said the first step, his first stride coming back towards me. As he is coming towards me, I tell, I keep telling him to get on the ground, he doesn’t.
“I shoot a series of shots. I don’t know how many I shot, I just know I shot it.
“I know I missed a couple, I don’t know how many, but I know I hit him at least once because I saw his body kind of jerk or flenched (sic). I remember having tunnel vision on his right hand, that’s all, I’m just focusing on that hand when I was shooting.
“Well, after the last shot my tunnel vision kind of opened up. I remember seeing the smoke from the gun and I kind of looked at him and he’s still coming at me, he hadn’t slowed down. At this point I start backpedaling and again, I tell him to get on the ground, he doesn’t. I shoot another round of shots. Again, I don’t recall how many it was or if I hit him every time. I know at least once because he flinched again.
“At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.
“And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.
“Well, he keeps coming at me after that again, during the pause I tell him to get on the ground, get on the ground, he still keeps coming at me, gets about eight to ten feet away. At this point I’m backing up pretty rapidly, I’m backpedaling pretty good because I know if he reaches me, he’ll kill me.
“And he had started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to just tackle me, just go right through me.”
Q: “Can you demonstrate for us how he was leaning forward?”
A: “His hand was in a fist at his side, this one is in his waistband under his shirt, and he was like this. Just coming straight at me like he was going to run right through me. And when he gets about that eight to ten feet away, I look down, I remember looking at my sites and firing, all I see is his head and that’s what I shot.
“I don’t know how many, I know at least once because I saw the last one go into him. And then when it went into him, the demeanor on his face when blank, the aggression was gone, it was gone, I mean, I knew he stopped, the threat was stopped.
“When he fell, he fell on his face. And I remember his feet coming up, like he has do much momentum carrying him forward that when he fell, his feet kind of came up a little big and then they rested.
“At that point I got back on the radio and said: ‘send me a supervisor and every car you got’.”